It occurred to me this Christmas that I am totally unequipped for adulthood. Which is unfortunate, having been one for almost 20 years, but still. Here’s how it happened: I was walking/sliding home from Tesco, muttering about the state of the icy pavements following a big ole bout of snow (white Chistmases are actually not as great as Bing would have you believe, especially if you have to push a pram through it). I was thinking, I should grit the pavement outside my house. Grit the pavement! what a responsible thing to do, right? But then it struck me that I had absolutely no idea where to buy grit. And even if I did, my inability to pass a driving test kind of hampered my ability to go and get a sack of grit. And even if I was a qualified driver, my little Citroen, quaking on the driveway, was not really up for the job of driving in the snow. No matter, I thought. I’ll just put some salt down. But is that a real solution or had I made it up? I looked around. None of the neighbours seemed to be shaking a tin of Saxo on the pavements. Hmmm.
I didn’t grit the pavements, obviously. I went indoors and decided to stay in as much as possible until after it had thawed. I was thwarted immediately in this plan because AB and I had to go out to a Christmas party the very next day and so 24 hours later, there I was again, muttering about the pavements and wishing I had a more practical pushchair (again! another grown up thing to have! I’m in my 30s for goodness sake so why oh why wasn’t I prancing around in some Hunter wellies with a Phil and Teds? It’s all wrong).
I made it to the Christmas party which was in the City, where of course there was no snow there because any that had fallen had instantly melted from the heat of nice shoes and blackberries and leather handbags and people being all brisk and important. I was wearing Ugg boots and a dress I’d had on for 3 days running, and must have looked like I had landed from Mars. Or, well, Kent.
On arrival at the party, me and AB settled down with a plate of sausage sandwiches and started to make a foam crown. Or at least, I did – AB just threw things around the room while I maintained a steady stream of pointless chatter: “Oooh, look darling, this is pretty! shall we stick it on? let’s stick it on! here I am, sticking! stickety stick!” etc. And yes, I did actually say stickety stick but you try spending all day with a person whose main line of conversation is ‘quack quack quack, hiya!!!” and see if you don’t come up with some meaningless gems of your own.
Crown made, it was time for a puppet show, which was a highly enjoyable – if slightly crazed – performance of Little Red Riding Hood, introduced by a crow called Pecko (not sure why). After the story, the puppet mater appeared and said that Pecko was going to sing a christmas song, and would one of the children like to choose one? There was a short pause while the audience thought about this. Come on, encouraged the puppet master – what’s your favourite Christmas song? What would you like Pecko to sing? “Thriller!” shouted one little boy. The puppet master looked a bit scared. Apparently, Pecko didn’t know the words to Thriller. Which was really quite disappointing.